Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock has ordered a review into how deaths from coronavirus are reported in England after academics said the daily figures may be unreliable and include people who have died of other causes, an official said.
The government official, who asked not to be named, said an announcement of the review might be announced later on Friday. The way Public Health England, a government agency responsible for managing infectious disease outbreaks, calculates the figures in England means they might look worse than in other parts of the United Kingdom, according to two academics.
Yoon Loke, from the University of East Anglia, and Carl Heneghan, from the University of Oxford, said Public Health England cross-checks the latest notifications of deaths against a database of positive test results – so anyone who has tested positive can be recorded as dying from the virus.
In a blog called "Why no-one can recover from COVID-19 in England", the academics said that patients who tested positive for COVID, but are successfully treated, will still be counted as dying from the virus if they have a heart attack or are run over by a bus three months later.
The Department for Health and Social Care did not have any immediate comment.